Service beats Grantsville [UT] in 11th inning on Day 1 of NWCART

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 5, 2016

Service blew a five-run lead in the bottom of the ninth only to get things back on track and eventually score in the 11th inning to beat Grantsville, Utah, 11-10 on Day 1 of the Northwest Class A Regional Tournament in Laurel, Montana.

It was the sixth consecutive game decided by two runs or fewer for the Cougars, who are 5-1 during that stretch.

“I think as a team we have bonded a lot later in the year,” Service’s Nick Hall told me. “At the beginning of the season when we’d get down we’d get our heads down, but we definitely kept our heads up today and things continue to go well.”

Michael Yandell scored the winning run after he singled with two outs, stole second and raced home when Ronan Klancher’s grounder went through the legs of the Grantsville second baseman.

Service pitcher Cobey Cupp threw the final three innings to earn the win, improving the ALB state tournament runner-up Cougars to 24-11 on the season.

Grantsville first baseman Riley Jensen earned player-of-the-game honors after hitting two home runs and driving in six runs. He clubbed a grand slam to tie the game in the ninth inning.

Service starter Nick Hall pitched the first eight innings and entered the ninth with a 10-5 lead, but he was removed after issuing a leadoff walk.

Enter ace reliever Raleigh Pigg, who was lights out during last week’s state tournament but struggled on this day to find his rhythm. He walked two batters and hit another, helping Grantsville pull closer at 10-6.

Cupp replaced Pigg and immediately faced Jensen, who crushed a grand slam to tie the game 10-10. However, Cupp bounced back to get out of the inning and force extra innings.

“Giving up that home run, it did suck – a lot – but I just kept pitching. I didn’t think about it,” Cupp told me. “I either pitch and win or pitch and lose, but I gotta pitch either way. I tried to focus on that.”

Cupp faced Jensen again in the 11th inning, nursing a one-run lead. This time he struck him out on a four-pitch sequence of nothing but curveballs.

“It was nasty,” Cupp said of his curve. “I surprised myself honestly. My arm felt good.”

Service banged out 16 hits, with Pigg getting five of them. Cupp reached base four times on a single, double and two walks. Pigg and Hall combined for five RBIs.